During my first few days in China I decided to watch a movie called Contagion. The premise of the movie is a deadly virus spreads throughout the world, killing millions of people. The movie follows several characters as they determine who was the first person to become infected. **SPOILER ALERT**
The virus started when a bulldozer knocked down a tree that was occupied by bats. One of the bats dropped a banana in a pig pen, which the pig ate and became infected. This little piggy then went to the market where it was butchered and sold to a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. The chef handling the pig didn’t wash his hands when meeting with a guest, shook that persons hand and VOILA! That was how it all started.
Contagion scared the beejeebees out of me! For a solid 8 months I refused to eat red meat or chicken from China. This way I wouldn’t get infected too (I know my logic makes no sense!!) After 8 months I really missed meat and I was tired of spending an exorbitant amount of money on imported Australian meat.
I bit the bullet and decided it was time to reintroduce meat to my diet. When I first arrived in China, my sister-in-law (who also lives here) showed me how to butcher meat and grind it myself. This way I was sure that the meat I was using was fresh, prepared in a clean environment and was actually beef (don’t forget, they can fake anything here in China!).
Metro has the best selection of beef in Shanghai. It’s affordable and Metro has a great reputation for offering good quality foodstuff like meat, cheese and a vast selection of imported goods. They have a fantastic selection of tenderloin, Australian steaks, and Tyson chicken. When you enter Metro’s meat section you enter a big walk-in refrigerator with hog carcasses lined up in one section. Chicken in another area and then beef and lamb down the middle.
On the other hand there are some crazy meats at Metro that are very unfamiliar to Western customers. Anyone want black chicken? Or how about chicken feet?
This might some crazy but it’s much cleaner than what I saw just last night!
Check out this picture–>
This was taken on a very busy street in Shanghai. They are slicing up meat on a wooden slab in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET! No sink. No gloves. Anyone else find this unbelievable?
Back at home in my clean kitchen, with my clean butcher block and knife, I got to work grinding up the beef I bought from Metro. My super amazing Kenwood Major Titanium Kitchen Machine with Meat Grinder attachment, allows me to easily grind the meat. Yes, you read correctly! It’s EASY! First pick your cut of meat. I personally like the ROAST beef at Metro. It’s tender with just enough fat that my burgers are juicy but not so fatty that it’s greasy.
When selecting your meat check the date on the package. This date tells you when it was butchered. Some of the packages I purchased were butchered on September 8 and others on the 15th. Another sign that the meat was fresh was that there was no pool of dark blood on the bottom of the bag.
I also like my meat to be HALAL which China has no shortage of luckily. Halal certification means that the meat was butchered adhering to Islamic rules. While there are strict guidelines to classify a meat as butchered Halal, what I think is most important is:
- The instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter. The animal must be slit at the throat.
- The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. Eating blood is not halal.
Less blood means the meat is cleaner. I personally find cow blood pooled at the bottom of a package of meat to be disgusting. Look for the round symbol with the green Arabic writing to know if your meat is halal.
After chopping the roast into large pieces I just ground them with the machine. It does all the work for you and in the end I had almost 5kg of freshly grounded beef! We are not big meat eaters, so I packaged the meat in 8oz freezer bags (21 bags to be exact!).